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ydinpoika

The Void - Journal Entry 2

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I'm going strong at 17 days game-free! It has been surprisingly easy to not play and to fill most of my time with other activities like practicing my french horn, reading, hiking, and watching hockey (let's go Blue Jackets!). However, there have been a few times that I have felt the void that gaming has left.

I have felt the void most when my wife is with her friends or at her own rehearsals or activities. Two years ago, I moved to her hometown for work. I was preparing for my career to take us to the west coast, so her hometown was a great option for both of us. Having anywhere between a three- to eight-hour drive separating me from my friends has been tougher than expected, especially since my wife has no such issue. Also, I was bullied a lot as a kid, and never had many friends, so I used to think that I enjoyed being alone. After being alone AND being without games, it feels like I am feeling what true loneliness is (or I am just not as used to it after living with my friends for grad school and being married). Even with my other activities, I still had an hour here and there that have been open. It has been exceptionally hard to not play some sort of "easy-to-put-down," single-player, noncompetitive game that I feel that I can easily pause and save and drop and not come back to until the next time I am alone.

The other difficult time has been at work. There have been days that I have not been very busy at all, so I have turned to YouTube or ESPN/NHL. After watching non-gaming-related videos or listening to music for a while and still having open time, it has been hard to not look at gaming news or attempt to find games that I think will be less of a pull for me for when I try to get back into gaming. There have been several games that have caught my eye, especially since they are indie games that have great stories that deal with depression and anxiety.

What I have determined from these trials is this: my addiction is less about playing the game itself, and more about filling the time with something social and/or "productive." I have felt hopeful and free since I dropped gaming and sold most of my games except for these times. Going forward, I am going to try to stay away entirely from anything related to games until my 90 days are up. As before, I still can't see myself without games, especially those that tell a good story or have good puzzles to solve. I am still going to be vigilant and not buy those that are competitive, online-only, weekly-exclusive-driven, or multiplayer because I know that those are where my problem started. Moderation and balance is key, and I am hoping that my 90 days will help me be able to take a step back and play without going down a slippery slope.

Good luck everyone, and stay strong! Take back control of your life!

-Erik (ydinpoika)

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